The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey – Advance Review [Bane of Kings]

The 5th Wave

Bane of Kings writes an advance review of the upcoming young adult novel  The 5th Wave, written by Rick Yancey and published by Putnam Juvenile on May 7 in the UK.

“This book is not just the next Hunger Games. This is the book that’s going to run circles around the Hunger Games, and come out on top in pretty much every way. Spectacular, and a high contender for not just the best YA novel of 2013, but one of the best novels of 2013 as well. ~The Founding Fields

If you’ve been following my reviews then you’ll know that I’m a NetGalley user – and frankly, I love the site. It’s allowed me to discover novels that I’d never get the chance to read otherwise, discovering new things from a variety of genres that I really need to read more of. And without NetGalley, I think it’s safe to say – I would have not discovered The 5th Wave, or Rick Yancey. Therefore, I could not be in anymore debt to NetGalley because I think I may have just discovered, as I claim in the quote, a strong contender for not just the best YA novel of 2013, but one of the best novels of 2013 as well.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

This book is full of twists and turns and you’ll really struggle to put this down. Cassie is a really strong, rotatable and likable protagonist, she’s human, she’s got flaws, but sticking with the Hunger Games comparison I’m going to say that she’s a lot stronger than Katniss Everdeen was as a character, particularly given Catching Fire. She’s developed at the start of the novel and grows throughout the entire book, along with the rest of the characters, Evan, her little brother, Sammy, her father – they’re all three dimensional characters. In fact, there’s not one character in this book who feels like a waste of space, that’s how good Rick Yancey is as a writer. I’m sure that Cassie in particular will stick around in my head long after reading this novel – and if you enjoy it as much as I did, then it’ll do the same for you as well.

The 5th WaveAnd the characters aren’t even the best bit about The 5th Wave. It’s the twists, the action, the plot. Everything that you could want in a dark, young adult thriller is here and at times it gets darker than your average YA thriller has a right to be – I’d certainly label this book as darker than the Hunger Games. If you thought that alien invasions couldn’t have the potential to have a large amount of horror, then either the only alien invasion movie you’ve ever seen is  Independence Day or you just don’t read that much alien invasion novels. But if you come in here expecting a typical storyline that usually has the aliens invade, destroy the planet so that the humans can band together, survive and throw them off, with a heart-warming speech from Bill Pullman to go with it, then think again – Cassie even says as much in the novel. There are no happy endings here, and if you’re a type that doesn’t like books to end on a cliffhanger then you’ll probably find yourself slightly turned off by this novel – but like Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan, a novel that I read recently that also ended on a cliffhanger, some books are just too good to pass up. And you’ll want to get on board this ride early, for if it has the same success as the likes of The Hunger Games and Harry Potter, then you’ll want to be on board this one while it’s relativity unknown. I’m predicting big things for this.

Because it’s a YA book with a female protagonist, of course there has to be some element of romance , but Yancey doesn’t spend too much time on it and with his engrossing narrative and the strength of the characters, you’ll brush it aside. It’s well written, and doesn’t feel odd or out of place in the story itself. It’s clear that Cassie has a strong grip on the need for survival, and romance comes second, and as a result – it doesn’t overshadow the plot.

There is a really, really huge twist in this book as well – I didn’t see it coming, and there’s a high chance that you won’t either. It’s literally mind blowing, and probably the best twist that I’ve read this year alongside the stunning conclusion to Peter V. Brett’s The Daylight War. Once again, I am so glad that I discovered this book. I wouldn’t have heard of it otherwise, but Rick Yancey is a writer I will be sticking around to see more of and I can’t wait to see where he takes the reader with the next book in the trilogy. I know it’s been used in other Advance Reviews and at the beginning of the book, itself but I couldn’t resist including this quote below. Given the whole context of the novel, it just adds to the scariness, the awesomeness and the greatness of this book:

“If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.” - Stephen Hawking



Milo, aka Bane of Kings, is a SFF/Comic reader, and a prolific reviewer who can be found on many places on the internet usually under the same username – when he’s not trying to catch up on the many seasons of Supernatural and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


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